Clear commitments, pledges needed for successful moot


Tajikistan, the Netherlands embassies co-host briefing on the upcoming water conference

Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Embassy of Tajikistan in collaboration with Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands co-hosted a briefing on the UN 2023 Water Conference, at the premises of the Tajik embassy in Islamabad.

The UN Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development,’ will take place from 22-24 March 2023, in New York, US, to coincide with World Water Day.

The Federal Secretary Water, diplomats and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the briefing. The Federal Secretary Water briefed the audiences about government initiatives and shared details about govt plans to for the upcoming Water Conference.

 Ambassador of Tajikistan Ismatullo Nasredin said this is a greater focus on the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for the achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives, the implementation and promotion of related programmes and projects, as well as on the furtherance of cooperation and partnerships at all levels, in order to help to achieve the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

He said water is essential for human life. The growing water crisis, coupled with rising demand and unsustainable use of water threaten human rights, food security, livelihoods security and environmental sustainability worldwide. The UN 2023 Water Conference provides a unique opportunity for the world to come together and collectively accelerate our work to making the world a more water secure place.

Ambassador Nasredin further said this Conference should be historical for the world community. And it is not because it will be the first UN Conference on Water after almost 50 years, but because of needs for urgent actions. Actions are needed because today’s water resources are under high pressure of impacts of climate change, population growth, economic development and other challenges. And without urgent actions it will be very complicated to achieve SDG6 and other water related goals and targets.

‘It is hoped that the UN 2023 Water Conference will make more people understand that we need to radically change how water is used, managed and valued’.

Ms. Lianne Houben, Deputy Head of Mission Embassy of the Netherlands in her remarks said it was no coincidence that the Netherlands was committed to this subject. The name of our country literally means low lands.

She added, The Netherlands has been battling with water for centuries. And we continue to do so till this day. “We have no other option with almost half of the country under sea level. Living with water is a matter of life and death for us’.

While talking about floods in Pakistan she said, the unprecedented floods that hit Pakistan last summer were heartbreaking and once again showed us that the power of water is immense.

‘I am glad the Netherlands was able to support the humanitarian efforts. I am also very proud to have Dutch water experts working on solutions for flood management in Pakistan under the umbrella of the Dutch Risk Reduction program’.

Ms. Lianne Houben said this year The Netherlands and Pakistan are celebrating 75 years bilateral relations – we planted tulips in park F-9 and a photo exhibition named ‘after us the deluge’ by famous Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen showed pictures of people worldwide struggling with rising sea levels and other types of flooding.

‘We also included pictures of the excellent work that Dutch companies that are experts in flood mitigation have carried out worldwide’, she added.

Talking about the conference she said, for the Conference to be impactful, we needed clear commitments, pledges and actions, which would be brought together in a Water Action Agenda. Commitments may vary in type or scale or reach, however, these commitments should deliver significant and lasting impact, stimulate cooperation and accelerate progress, she concluded.

It may be mentioned here that considering this complex context of challenges of and opportunities for international water issues, the UNGA proclaimed in 2016 the period from 2018 to 2028 as the second International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”. In 2018 the UNGA decided to convene Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action. In 2020 the UNGA adopted Resolution 75/212 regarding the modalities for this Conference and welcomed the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the co-hosts for this Conference. The co-hosts of the Conference agreed that for communication purposes the Conference would subsequently be referred to as the “UN 2023 Water Conference”,

In November 2021, Tajikistan and the Netherlands published their vision for the Conference: “Our watershed moment: uniting the world for water.” In this Vision statement the Netherlands and Tajikistan, as co-hosts, and UN DESA with the support of UN-Water as Secretariat of the Conference, put forward their vision of the Conference as a watershed moment for the world.